Fenerbahçe vs. Benfica  1 - 0

Article

Benfica confident of Europa League progression

1 May 2013 19:18

Jorge Jesus believes his Benfica side can progress to the final of the UEFA Europa League, despite defeat in their first leg at Fenerbahce.

The Turkish giants take a 1-0 lead to Portugal after Egemen Korkmaz scored a later winner to hand them the advantage last week.

But Jesus has every faith that his charges can reverse the scoreline at the Estadio de la Luz.

"We are confident that we can change the round," he said.

"It is a dangerous result, but one that leaves us confidence we can change this result.

"We have some experience of these duels in the Europa League and Champions League. We will not change anything we have done throughout the competition.

"Fenerbahce have had good performances away from home but we will continue to do what we have done at home and we believe that we will be in the final.

"We will give everything for this to be a reality tomorrow."

Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo has called on the fans to back the team ahead of the crucial tie. He also stated that the side is good shape ahead of the fixture.

"I ask you to come to the stadium to help us because it will be easier to pass the final," he added.

"We have had many games but we feel good for tomorrow and I think we will all be 100 percent.

"The priority is the group, that comes first then the individual. I'll do my best to help my team."

Article

Benfica coach promises better effort in Lisbon

26 April 2013 03:58

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus is adamant that his side will bounce back from their 1-0 Europa League defeat to Fenerbahce.

"Everything will be different in Lisbon," Jesus said.

The Portuguese were nowhere near their best in Istanbul and had already seen their hosts hit the woodwork three times before Egemen Korkmaz secured a 1-0 victory with 18 minutes to go.

Jesus had no complaints about the final result but was keen to stress that fatigue had been a major factor in his side's strangely subdued showing.

"We had a very tiring match against Sporting Lisbon at the weekend and we did not arrive here completely ready," he said.

"In Lisbon, everything will be different. We still have another game so we remain hopeful of going through."

Jesus ruled out complacency for the defeat.

"Weak teams do not reach semi-finals," he said.

"So that Fenerbahce played a good game was not a surprise to us. Fenerbahce were much better than us tonight but, like I say, it will be different in Lisbon."

Benfica are bidding to reach their first continental tournament decider since being beaten 1-0 by AC Milan in the 1990 European Cup final.

Meanwhile, Fenerbache coach Aykut Kocaman is taking nothing for granted ahead of the second leg.

"It was very important for us not to concede, and we managed that today," he said.

"Physically, I think we showed our strength tonight and we have managed to secure an advantage for the second leg.

"The final is by no means certain but we will do our best to make it. For now, I would just like to congratulate all of my players."

Aykut also insisted that he would not be taking the penalty-taking duties away from Cristian in light of his miss just before the break.

"It's meaningless to discuss this top," he argued. "Penalties are missed. Cristian's our No.1 penalty taker and he will continue to take them."

Fenerbahce, who defeated Lazio in the quarter-finals, are making their first appearance in the last four of a European competition.

Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel was delighted with the win.

"We played really well today," he told reporters.

"I congratulate my team-mates and our coach. We have again showed everyone what we can do and what you can achieve when you believe."

Article

UEFA Europa League: Fenerbahce 1 Benfica 0

25 April 2013 23:00

Fenerbahce grabbed a hard-fought 1-0 win against Benfica to carve out a slender advantage in the sides' UEFA Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday.

The hosts struck the woodwork on three separate occasions in the first half but secured the winning goal their performance had merited in the second period courtesy of Egeman Korkmaz.

Aykut Kocaman made two changes from his side's win over Lazio in the last round, with Caner Erkin's suspension and Selcuk Sahin's omission allowing Mehmet Topal and Moussa Sow into the starting XI. Jorge Jesus went one step further than his counterpart, however, with Pablo Aimar, Oscar Cardozo, Maxi Pereira, Andre Gomes and Jardel all starting having missed out against Newcastle.

Perhaps understandably given the stakes, the game got off to a bitty start. Oscar Cardozo's ongoing physical battle with the Fenerbahce backline provided the only talking point of the opening 10 minutes, and the striker soon received a stern talking to from referee Milorad Mazic as a result.

Just moments after his team-mate had been admonished Aimar was the recipient of the game's first real chance, but he failed to control his shot inside the area and drove wastefully over the bar. That effort appeared to have opened the floodgates, with Moussa Sow passing Pierre Webo's cross inches wide before striking the bar with a headed effort in the immediate aftermath.

However, chances proved hard to come by from that point on, with the battle for midfield dominance being only temporarily interrupted by breaks in play which required the referee to hand out a total of five cautions.

The last of those yellow cards almost fittingly provided the breakthrough right at the death - Ola John the recipient after bringing Gokhan Gonul to ground in the box. But Cristian ensured the defender was granted a reprieve, striking the subsequent penalty onto the post before the half-time whistle and leaving the pitch visibly distraught as a result.

The Brazilian in fact almost atoned for his error just minutes into the second half, as his long-distance strike was smartly saved by Artur Moraes, and Raul Meireles drew an equally impressive stop with an effort from a similar part of the pitch just after.

Fenerbahce's dominance of the first half had been underlined by two strikes of the woodwork, and the Turkish side were cursing their luck again early in the second after Dirk Kuyt turned before hitting a fine shot which bounced back off the post and into the goalkeeper's arms.

Benfica also got in on the action with 52 minutes gone as Nicolas Gaitan's wonderful curling effort clipped the outside of the post before going behind, much to the relief of stranded home goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.

Kocaman may well have felt aggrieved that his side had not capitalised on that small slice of luck and their general domination, but Fenerbahce would receive their reward with 72 minutes on the clock. A flicked on header deceived the visiting defenders and allowed Korkmaz to nod home off the post despite Jardel's best efforts on the line.

And the Turkish side held on to their lead despite a late Benfica onslaught to secure a narrow lead.

Article

Gaitan: I will feel at home against Fenerbahce

24 April 2013 19:19

Benfica playmaker Nicolas Gaitan feels he will get a sense of home when he takes to the pitch tomorrow night at Fenerbahce.

While many players wilt in the atmosphere at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, Gaitan believes there are similarities between what he will encounter and what he became used to when playing for Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

The Lisbon club have enjoyed a fantastic season so far, going unbeaten in the Primeira Liga, and Gaitan is eyeing further success in Europe after dispatching Newcastle United in the last round.

"I started my football career at Boca Juniors in Argentina. I heard that the atmosphere here is very similar to Boca," he told reporters.

"The colours of Fenerbahce and Boca are also the same, so it will actually be a familiar atmosphere to me."

Speaking about the game, Gaitan said he felt that he and his team-mates had enough within them to secure their passage to the final.

He added: "Fenerbahce are a very well-organised team with skilful players. But I think we’re the better side and because of this we want to progress to the final."

Article

Jorge Jesus: Atmosphere won´t intimidate us against Fenerbahce

24 April 2013 18:14

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus does not feel that an intimidating atmosphere will harm his players when they take on Fenerbahce at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium on Thursday.

The 58-year-old feels that the experience of his side playing at home in a rowdy Estadio de Luz will help them and feels the tie is more likely to be decided by how well his defence deals with Fenerbahce's front line, which includes the likes of Dirk Kuyt, Moussa Sow and Miroslav Stoch.

"Most problems will probably come from their agile front players," Jesus told reporters. "We know that this match will not decide anything but it can help us."

He also stressed that he wanted his side to stick to their tried and tested style and be "faithful to our philosophy".

"Usually Benfica score away and, despite the atmosphere tomorrow, I believe that we will score again," he added. "There are no favourites - both teams have their strengths and it will be an even tie."

Article

Europa League Preview: Fenerbahce v Benfica

22 April 2013 12:04

Fenerbahce head coach Aykut Kocaman will be hoping his side refocus quickly ahead of their UEFA Europa League semi-final versus Benfica.

Kocaman's team lost for the first time in 11 matches in all competitions on Sunday when they went down 2-0 away to Genclerbirligi in the Turkish Super Lig and have just four days to recover before they take on Benfica in Istanbul in their semi-final first leg.

Thursday's match will be Fenerbahce's first appearance in the final four of a European continental competition and Kocaman will be stressing the importance of winning their home leg.

In the 12 UEFA Europa League semi-final matches since the competition's name was changed from the UEFA Cup, 10 have been won by the home side, suggesting that if Fenerbahce fail to defeat Benfica at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, they will probably miss out on a spot in the final.

Fenerbahce have been led by Brazilian midfielder Cristian Baroni and Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt in their run to the last four.

Baroni, in his fourth season with Fenerbahce, has three goals and three assists in the UEFA Europa League, while Kuyt (three goals, one assist) has also been important for Kocaman's side.

Liga Sagres-leaders Benfica will head to Turkey after a 2-0 victory over Sporting Lisbon in the Derby de Lisboa on Sunday.

Benfica are undefeated in the UEFA Europa League this season and last lost a match at the end of February when they were knocked out of the Taca da Liga (Portuguese League Cup) on penalties by Sporting Braga.

Kocaman will need to warn his defence about Argentine midfielder Eduardo Salvio, who has scored three goals in Benfica's past four matches, including the opener against Sporting.

Meanwhile, Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus will hope his players are inspired by the only previous encounter between the Portuguese club and Fenerbahce.

In the 1975/76 European Cup, Benfica thumped Fenerbahce 7-0 in Lisbon and then held on for a 7-1 aggregate victory after a narrow defeat in the second leg in Turkey.

Jesus could also use Portugal's strong history in the past decade in this competition and its equivalents, with Porto having won it twice (2003 and 2011), while Sporting Lisbon (2005) and Braga (2011) have both finished runners-up in that period.

Benfica missed out on the 2011 final when they lost on away goals to Braga.

Article

Rui Costa: Benfica a force once more

12 April 2013 18:48

Benfica football director Rui Costa says the club is a rising force in Europe once again.

The Portuguese club knocked out Newcastle in the quarter-finals of the Europea League 4-2 on aggregate and have been drawn against 18-time Turkish league winners Fenerbahce in the semi-finals.

It is the second time in three years Benfica have reached the semi-finals of the tournament, after they were knocked out by fellow Portuguese outfit Braga in the 2010/11 edition.

Former Fiorentina and Milan midfielder Rui Costa knows it will not be an easy task against the Turkish club but remains confident ahead of the clash.

"It's the second semi-final in three years. Benfica is rising and improving. We are happy to be here but we want to go further. The goal is to reach the final," the 41-year-old told reporters.

"The most important thing was to be in the draw. Either opponent is of high quality, Fenerbahce eliminated Lazio. We want to continue our journey, with the ambition to reach the final and represent Portugal in a European final. It will not be easy but we are optimistic."

The first leg will be played in Turkey on April 25 before the fate of the two clubs will be decided on May 2 at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

Süper Lig table

# Team MP D P
2 7 +4 13
3 7 +1 13
4 7 +1 13
5 7 -1 13
6 7 +3 12

Primeira Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 8 +14 19
2 8 +12 18
3 8 +8 17
4 8 +11 16
5 8 +7 14